Washington: The US has removed nine Indian space and defense related companies including those from Isro and DRDO from its export control ‘Entity List’ in an attempt to expand high technology trade and strategic cooperation with India.
The US decision meets a long pending Indian demand and is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 8 November last year after their summit talks in New Delhi.
The federal notification issued in the Federal registry came days ahead of the high-profile visit of commerce secretary Gary Locke to New Delhi on 6 February. Locke is leading a high-tech trade mission comprising 24 businesses persons that will also visit Bangalore and Mumbai.
“Today’s action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation,” Locke said after the notification was issued.
The nine entities are Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), four remaining subsidiaries of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in the US sanction list and another four of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro).
The DRDO subsidiaries are Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defense Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex and Solid State Physics Laboratory
Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) are the four Isro subsidiaries.
Removal from the ‘Entity List’ eliminates a license requirement specific to the companies, and results in the companies off the list being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes, the commerce department said in a statement.
The notification removes India from several country groups in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) resulting in the removal of export license requirements that were tied to India’s placement in those country groups.
It further adds India to a country group in the EAR that consists of members of the Missile Technology Control Regime, to recognize and communicate India’s adherence to the regime, the US-India strategic partnership, and India’s global non-proliferation standing.
“These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global non-proliferation framework,” said under secretary of commerce Eric L Hirschhorn.
Obama during his India visit had assured India that he would remove these companies from the ‘Entity List’.
Obama had said that commensurate with India’s non-proliferation record and commitment to abide by multilateral export control standards the US will remove all civil space and defense-related entities from the Department of Commerce ‘Entity List’.
“Inclusion on this list generally triggers an export license requirement for items that otherwise do not require an export license,” said a fact sheet issued by the White House during the Obama visit.
The Locke delegation that will visit India includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA).